Happy Hina-matsuri!

Today is 雛祭り or Hina-matsuri! Literally translated as doll festival, it’s also referred to as Dolls Day or Girls Day. Dolls representing the Emperor and Empress (and, should you have the space and budget, also members of the court) are set out on a display and people pray for the happiness and health of any girls in the household.

Originally, I had planned to do a coordination on Tsukiko, something girly and pastel and princessy, but that idea got a bit derailed today. I might give it a shot tomorrow.

Instead, I remembered I had a new kimono doll post in the works, and figured what better day to finish it up and post it than today? These kimono dolls posts continue to be some of the most popular features on this blog if my back-end statistics are to be believed. I’m glad people enjoy them as much as I do. Especially with my health issues, and living in a country where it can go from -40 to +40 in the span of a few months, these dolls give me a way to enjoy coordinating and experimenting with kimono in a way nothing else can. Kimono and wafuku continue to grow in popularity and their presence is becoming more and more mainstream, which means lots of fun new dolls to play with! Here are a few recent ones I’ve found and particularly enjoyed.

cde-seikoSeiko Dressup - A very cute, chibi-style doll with lots of wardrobe options. She's got a selection of traditional and hime-style outfits, and the option to mix and match top and bottom halves. There are accessories to play with and you can change her makeup, but the doll base is fixed.
cherry bloom girlCherry Bloom Girl - A fairly decent selection of kimono, obi, accessories, and hairstyles. However, not all accessories fit with all hairstyles, and not all obi fit with all kimono. Still quite pretty and fun to play with though.
coupleRoyal Couple - Cute graphics, and lots of pretty options for the Empress, but I feel like the Emperor was an afterthought. He's got way less options, and most of his outfits feel more like yukata than courtly wardrobe, so there's a bit of a disconnect when the two are together.
japanese girlJapanese Girl - Despite the name, the doll in this game doesn't strike me as very Japanese-looking. She's pretty though. There are a few hairstyles to choose from, and ten kimono. However, the kimono and obi are connected, so there's not a huge amount of mix-and-matching here.
kitcuteKit the Kimono Designer - This is one of the best new kimono dress-up/creator games I've seen in a long time. It's got a very sweet hand-drawn art style and a ton of customisation! You can customise all aspects of the doll base and then create hundreds of possible kimono variations by mixing a huge selection of colours and patterns. Be careful with this one; it would be very easy to lose track of time while playing with it!

I also made my own origami Obina (emperor) and Mebina (empress) origami dolls. You may have seen them already if you follow me on Instagram, but here is a better photo.


Montreal Japanese Language Centre Spring Matsuri

Today I went to the Montreal Japanese Language Centre Spring Matsuri. Of course, I used the opportunity to wear kimono. I decided to pair up my new dusty pink iromuji with a gorgeous burnt-orange obi with irridescent pastel flowers Naomi gave me. The flowers feel like tulips to me, so it seemed appropriately spring-like. I know they’re probably something else, but shush! It was a little too warm for a haori, but too chilly for nothing, so I borrowed a cute shawl from my mother. I think I look like a dope in these, and a little rumpled, but they’re the only full shots of my outfit, so there you go.

I told my friend Nick, who I mentioned in this entry about it, and he came to meet me there along with several other friends. He wore his yukata again, and looked snazzy as always.

While there, I ran into Akane, a lovely young woman I met last summer at the O-Bon Matsuri. She’s always wearing beautiful, feminine outfits and always looks elegant and effortless. She actually remembered meeting me before, and I was quite chuffed about that! Isn’t she photogenic? Also, check out those great red high-top Chucks in the corner!

Here’s the photos of her from last summer – they were taken before I started this blog.

I also met a lovely woman named Serene and we chatted kimono for a bit. She had on a lovely komon and had a great personal style. She made her own obi, and it was adorable applique-work and I wish I’d thought to take a photo of it!

The festival itself was more like a garage sale than anything! Lots of tables with cute little things for sale. Sadly, no kimono or related items, but I did pick up a little fiction book with no relation to anything Japanese and a little handmade bag with a fish on it that I’ll probably wear with a kimono later. I also had a delicious hamburger bento, some umeboshi onigiri, and the most delicious strawberry mochi I’ve ever had, with half a fresh strawberry inside it!

Aside from the vendors, there was a great performance by Arashi Daiko and demonstrations of Aikido and Nunjutsu.

I tried to capture a video of the performance, but my phone is miserable. Watch at your own risk!

And a few photos.